Falcon bank offers clients Bitcoin, cryptocurrency trade accounts

Banking customers will now be able to hold and buy Bitcoin, but what does this mean for anonymity?
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
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Falcon Private Bank will soon allow customers to buy and hold Bitcoin, paving the way forward for the increased adoption of virtual currency -- but potentially removing anonymity.

Last week, the Swiss private banking group said that in collaboration with broker Bitcoin Suisse AG, customers will be able to trade Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin (BTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Bitcoin Cash was created when the fork was created within the Bitcoin network this month.

From August 22, investors will be able to use the financial institution to trade in cryptocurrency, but whether this plunge into the blockchain will be met with general approval is up for debate.

Falcon's break into the virtual currency market is aimed at offering "high net worth and institutional clients direct exposure to what is now a whole range of the top market cap crypto-assets, besides Bitcoin."

The Zurich-based bank already offers crypto-asset management solutions which allow the purchase, trade, and holding of Bitcoin. Now with the expansion of more cryptocurrency beyond Bitcoin -- of which the trading price at the time of writing is $4017 per BTC -- clients are able to trade in virtual currency of different financial value.

"Bitcoin Suisse is proud to continue to support Falcon Private Banks product offering in the field of crypto-assets," CEO of Bitcoin Suisse Niklas Nikolajsen said. "Falcon Private Bank was the first bank to offer Bitcoin directly to its clients, and thus created history. Their decision to follow up by adding Ether as well as other crypto-assets has made them the go-to private bank for crypto-asset holders and investors."

From the outset, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies based on the blockchain, has been connected to transactions which while recorded by electronic ledgers, also provided a level of anonymity. While transactions are stored permanently, the identity of users behind the wallet address is kept secret -- unless a data leak takes place.

If cryptocurrency traders are betting on the anonymity factor, the assimilation of virtual currency into banking systems will not likely be welcome news. Banks, naturally, lead to stores, and according to recent research, exchanges of this type of asset in the retail industry can degrade anonymity further.

According to researcher Dillon Reisman and Princeton University's Steven Goldfeder, as reported by The Register, it is easy to link transactions made to online shops and cryptocurrency wallets.

Their research paper suggests that the smallest amount of leak payment information can be used to track traders, and out of 130 merchants that accept Bitcoin which were studied, 107 leaked this data -- and 31 allowed third-party services to access user Bitcoin addresses.

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